Tasty Tom, the enriched tomato mix and a popular food ingredient in Ghanaian cuisine, has partnered with Media Conekt to launch the 2018 edition of the annual “Ghana Jollof Festival” – the official platform for celebrating Jollof Rice as a the most popular rice meal in West Africa.
Tomato paste constitutes one of the most vital ingredients in the preparation of Jollof Rice as it is used to enhance the meal’s colour as well as its taste.
Tasty Tom Enriched Tomato mix, an inevitable primary ingredient in most indigenous Ghanaian meals, has, over the years, grown to become a favourite tomato paste brand for the preparation of Jollof in Ghana because it gives the right colour and taste to Jollof Rice, thanks to its thickness and unique red colour.
According to Dinah Adu-Asare, Brand Manager for Tasty Tom, “apart from giving Jollof Rice its famous Jollof colour and that unique Jollof taste as desired by both caterers and Jollof lovers, Tasty Tom enriched tomato mix also delivers a nutritious meal as a result of its added fibre and vitamins A, D, E & K,”
Tasty Tom is made in Ghana by Nutrifoods Ghana in an FSSC (Food Safety System Certification Scheme) accredited plant which is the largest in West Africa and also the first food manufacturing facility in the sub-region to earn international recognition for compliance in food safety standards.
The Jollof War
In recent years, “Jollof rice” has become the most topical food in both official and informal discussions on West African gastronomy. Interestingly, the debate on Jollof Rice is fuelled by entrenched claims by Ghanaians, Senegalese and Nigerians that they make the best Jollof and also that the meal itself originated from their respective countries.
Somehow, the Jollof rivalry is strongest between arch-rivals Ghana and Nigeria and as the other West African countries have been systematically relegated from the frontline, battle lines of a so called ‘Jollof War’ between Ghana and Nigeria have been drawn, even if comically, and rages on fiercely especially on social media.
Fortunately, a common point of agreement for all West Africans and especially for Ghanaians and Nigerians, is the acknowledgment of Jollof Rice as a delicious African meal which is loved by many in their countries.
Although it is difficult to determine who may have instituted it, the fact that the 22nd day of every August has been set aside to celebrate the meal and has actually been christened the “World Jollof Day” is enough testimony of the popularity of this African rice meal.
Ghana Jollof Festival
Out of the ‘Jollof War’ has emerged the ‘Ghana Jollof Festival’, the first of which was recently held under the auspices of Tasty Tom Enriched Tomato Mix, in collaboration with Media Conekt.
The celebration itself started on 22nd August, when Tasty Tom and Media Conekt presented hot Jollof meals to orphans at the New Life Orphanage.
That was followed by giveaways of special ‘Jollof Boxes’ containing a pack of delicious Jollof, cooked by the famous Mukase Chic and samples of Tasty Tom Enriched tomato mix and pasta to a number of influential personalities active in the in the local food industry as well as some celebrated media personnel.
The climax of the Jollof Festival took place on 1st September, 2018 at the Memory Lane Art Park in Accra and featured a Jollof Fair which showcased special Jollof recipes by as many as 19 Accra-based food vendors and on-the-spot cooking by various renowned chefs and restaurants.
The climax, however was the Jollof Cooking Competition which tasked competitors to cook and present a creative and tasty Jollof meal within just 15 minutes. In the end, the coveted Jollof King and Queen crowns went to Nii Kwartei Quartey and Anita Nana Adwoa Idanmah Senyah respectively.
The cooking competition was jointly refereed and judged by a panel comprising celebrated Nigerian Chef, Wolu, of Good Eat Nigeria and Afe Yoo of Ghana’s Kitchen Pot.
Ms Joyce Gyebi of Mukase Chic, which put the Festival together, was full of praise for Tasty Tom for sponsoring the 2018 Ghana Jollof Festival.
“As a culinary entrepreneur I believe that Jollof is one of those meals that Ghana and Africa should be proud of, as it gives us a special culinary identity,” said Ms Gyebi as she commended Tasty Tom and other institutions for their support for the festival.
“We must realize that we have unique Jollof recipes across West Africa, all of which are special in their own way and it’s about time we ‘ceased fire’ in the Jollof War and started celebrating the uniqueness of this African meal as much as it deserves,” she said.
Ms. Gyebi said, in the coming year, Mukase Chic hoped to upgrade the festival in a way that would promote authentic Jollof recipes and generate far more excitement for participants, food enthusiasts and families.